MEMORANDUM: Josh Mandel’s Extremism On January 6 Is Shaping the Ohio GOP Senate Field
January 5, 2022
To: Interested Parties
From: The Ohio Democratic Party
Re: Josh Mandel’s Extremism On January 6 Is Shaping the Ohio GOP Senate Field
The Ohio GOP Senate primary has “descended into meanness and pettiness and just plain craziness unlike anything ever seen in Ohio Republican politics.” And nowhere is the craziness more clear than the rhetoric and denialism about the attempted insurrection one year ago. Josh Mandel is leading the pack of out-of-touch millionaires in downplaying the insurrection and even going so far as to tout meetings with January 6 rallygoers. In a primary that has been all about Trump, Mandel desperately wants Trump’s endorsement and has used January 6th to stand out in this crowded field. He has caused other candidates, including J.D. Vance and Jane Timken, to chase him down the conspiracy rabbit hole. But no candidate has caught up to Mandel.
Here’s how Mandel has staked out the right flank on the Big Lie and January 6th:
- Josh Mandel has touted meetings with January 6th rallygoers on his Twitter account and called those charged with crimes on January 6 “political prisoners.” After one of his political rallies, Mandel tweeted, “Great to meet Lynette & Diane who exercised their Freedom to Assemble and support President Trump on January 6th.”
- Mandel has called for abolishing the January 6th commission in favor of a November 3rd commission, which would be able to investigate (at the 5 hour and 1-minute mark) “what was going on” in Philadelphia, Milwaukee, and Cleveland. No other candidate has made voter fraud claims about Ohio’s election or named Cleveland.
- Mandel called January 6th an operation funded by the Deep State and organized by George Soros.
- Mandel says he thinks that the 2020 presidential election was stolen and repeats this line to applause at campaign stops and Republican forums around Ohio.
Just this past month, Mandel has kept January 6th as a message of his campaign:
- On December 3, he tweeted, “Abolish the January 6th commission and replace it with a November 3rd commission.”
- And on December 17, Hugh Hewitt pushed back on Mandel’s election fraud claims, and Mandel once again mentioned replacing the January 6th commission with a November 3rd commission. Mandel said that Biden is not the legitimate president and that forensic audits will prove Trump won the election.
Mandel’s belief in January 6th conspiracy theories is all part of an effort to pad Trump’s ego, and it’s why Mandel was spotted at another candidate’s fundraiser at Mar-a-Lago (which was later confirmed by The Washington Post). Mandel will do or say anything to earn Trump’s endorsement and does not care about the consequences of lying about the results of an election or downplaying the insurrection, which saw a violent mob storming the Capitol and resulting in multiple deaths.
Jane Timken And J.D. Vance Are Failing To Catch Up To Mandel’s Extremism
In order to catch up to Mandel, J.D. Vance and Jane Timken have amped up their January 6th rhetoric from before their runs for U.S. Senate to now.
Before J.D. Vance ran for U.S. Senate:
- Vance did not even tweet anything about January 6th during January 2021.
Now that he is running for U.S. Senate:
- Vance told Time in July, “There were some bad apples on Jan. 6, very clearly, but most of the people there were actually super peaceful. Some of them were, like, let into the Capitol by the police officers!”
- In September, Vance told WCMH, “I think it’s a little bit weird that we focus so much on what happened January 6. Yes it was bad, yes people who were violent should face consequences, but I also think we have to keep a little perspective about what happened and some of the other problems that exist in our country.”
Before Jane Timken decided to run for Senate:
- On January 6, Timken tweeted, “As Americans we have the constitutional right to redress our grievances but not with violence. What’s happening in the Capitol is wrong and not the way forward.”
- In January, as the chair of the Ohio Republican Party, told The Plain Dealer she didn’t know “if I would have voted the way he [Gonzalez] did,” which was in favor of impeaching Trump for inciting a riot at the U.S. Capitol, while also praising him as a “very effective legislator.” At the time, Ohio GOP spokesman Evan Machan “declined to say whether Timken still supports the president, or whether she thinks Trump contributed to the violence.”
After becoming a U.S. Senate candidate:
- Timken changed her tune and said that January 6th has been “blown out of proportion” and that there were “good, patriotic Americans who went to the Capitol.” This is likely to shield herself from more criticism from Josh Mandel, who has gone after Timken for defending Anthony Gonzalez’s decision to vote to impeach Trump by calling it “rational.” Timken eventually changed her position and called for Gonzalez to resign but that hasn’t stopped the infighting.
- Josh Mandel attacked Timken for flip-flopping on Gonzalez after her campaign “saw polling” on the issue. When Gonzalez announced he wasn’t running for reelection, Mandel went after Timken and called her “pro-impeachment.”
The Ohio GOP Senate primary has become a “race for former President Trump’s endorsement” which “is putting several candidates on a collision course that some Republicans fear could hobble the party in the 2022 midterm elections.” Mandel is leading the charge in appeasing Trump’s fantasies about January 6th in order to secure his endorsement and has led J.D. Vance and Jane Timken down a conspiracy rabbit hole in order for them to remain relevant.
The race to the bottom in this crowded primary has been an event to behold and with four months left, has shown no signs of slowing down. The Ohio Democratic Party remains committed to holding Josh Mandel accountable for his extremism and making the case to Ohioans that J.D. Vance, Jane Timken, or whatever out-of-touch millionaire wins this divisive primary only cares about themselves and not the needs of working Ohioans.